In this day and age there are many things flow through the average American’s mind every day. Such thoughts can include how much money they are earning, what clothes they need to wear, or how they need to act to be “in style. ” Another issue is much more important than the rest and it centers on the population’s struggle with obesity. While the body needs fat tissue to keep our bodies healthy, there is a point when it becomes excessive. Specifically, obesity is diagnosed when they have a Body Mass Index (or BMI) of 30 or higher.
The threshold is this high because over ? of American adults and 14% of American children today are obese. It would seem obesity is becoming the norm rather than the exception. The major problem with obesity is the fact that obesity is primarily a medical disease and remains the second leading cause of preventable death taking upwards of 300,000 lives each year. Obesity is the result of problems present in three areas; genes, environment, and personal behavior. Some candidates for obesity have a genetic tendency to gain weight and store fat.
A person’s environment can be a major contributing factor if an individual is surrounded by bad eating habits and choices. Home, school, or even the workplace is areas where a person can be faced with a multitude of bad food choices, unhealthy portions and an environment that is hostile to exercise. These factors can make it incredibly difficult for a person to achieve or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Ultimately, when bad habits are consistently demonstrated, it is difficult for many people to resist temptation and stick with healthy choices.
Additionally, behavior can contribute to obesity because it involves poor or incorrect choices relating to the physical activity and eating habits. Lack of exercise combined with a poor diet will not yield a healthy, top cardiovascular conditioned individual. It would seem that obesity is not just a mere issue, but rather an epidemic putting people at risk for such conditions as breast cancer, heart disease disease, diabetes, infertility, or even chronic fatigue.
Another problem that obesity can cause is a lowered libido which can ultimately impact an individual’s social life to a significant degree. In today’s culture, television programs such as Sex and the City and Grey’s Anatomy place significant emphasis on sex and being sexy. What is not discussed, however, is the fact that sex is not as equally easy or enjoyable for everyone. Research shows that obese people are not receiving the same pleasure from sex that “in shape” individuals derive due to the affect that excess weight is having on their libido.
It is also well known that without a strong libido, sex is ceases to be an exciting, gratifying experience. On this subject, Susan Kellogg, PhD, director of sexual medicine at the Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute of Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia states: “We are beginning to see that the width of the blood vessels leading to the clitoris in women are affected by the same kind of blockages that impact blood flow to the penis. ” Kellogg’s statement declares that the more weight a person carries the less stimulation they will receive during sex.
This greatly detracts from the entire sexual experience. In regards to this, in 2004, researchers at Duke University Medical Center performed a study to examine the correlation between obesity and libido. This experiment involved recruiting 1210 people from the community and the Duke Diet and Fitness Center to partake in a thirty-one question survey. 928 of the participants were obese, 506 of which were receiving treatment at Duke. Additionally, the individuals undergoing treatment had an average BMI of 41 and the other obese candidates had an average BMI of 40. Again, keep in mind the average BMI for lean individuals is 22) The results of the study showed that the obese test takers were twenty-five times more likely to have dissatisfaction with their sexual experiences. Sixty-five percent of the treatment seekers and forty-one percent of the other obese people said that they had difficulties in four main area: lack of sexual enjoyment, lack of sexual desire, difficulty with their performance, and a complete avoidance of sexual encounters. These results were in direct contrast to the five percent of normal size test subjects that had problems in these areas.
Ultimately, these results were helpful in confirming that not only can obesity cause many physical problems, it can also take a big toll on the libido. It also proves that if good sex is a goal of an obese person, then the main way to make it better is to lose weight. While some will not admit it, sex remains an important part of a person’s lives regardless of whether or not they are obese and lack of sexual intimacy can be the source of many problems. Marriage, for example, is a bond between two people that is made even more intimate by the presence of a solid sexual relationship.
In a relationship where individuals are obese, the effect of the obesity on the sexual relationship can prove highly problematic for the marriage. When people say that sex isn’t a big part of a marriage, they are simply not accurate. I myself, personally, have asked five married couples that exact question: “Is sex important in your relationship? ” Astoundingly, each couple replied yes and some even went so far to say that sex keeps the “fire burning” (romance alive) and without sex, as stated by a subject named Beth Nicholson, “don’t think their communication would be as open either. This presents the conclusion that sex in a relationship not only exists for pleasure, but also communication, as it provides the basis for a connection between the two parties. Without such connection, a marriage would have a difficult time remaining stable. Another part of life which obesity can affect is pregnancy. Pregnancy is an experience that most women in society aspire to in their life. As previously mentioned, when someone is obese, sex becomes more of an undesirable task. This issue itself affects child bearing because it makes it difficult to conceive a child.
Not to mention the fact that a child conceived of obese parents may develop a number of health related problems. Such problems include birth defects such as neural tube defects, which could cause the baby to contract a disorder such as spina bifida; fetal and/or neonatal (early pregnancy) death; problems with labor and delivery complications such as the baby of an obese mother becoming excessively large in the uterus, making it difficult for the mother to deliver; and hyperextension or abnormal stretching of the joints which occurs in the pelvic area; gestational diabetes; high blood pressure; and even changes in vision.
Additionally, an issue that obesity can cause is infertility. This is because obesity is believed to cause problems with hormonal balance and production and this will ultimately lead to ovulation problems. As such, if obesity is an ailment in an individual’s life, the person will also develop problems with their sexual life that will directly affect a pregnancy as well.
In a country with fifty-eight million overweight individuals, forty million are obese and three million are morbidly obese, it would seem that society would discover the complications and risks associated with obesity. Yet, weight problems have taken over a large population of Americans. Until this is addressed, problems with sex, marriage, and child bearing still be occurring as they pertain to obese people. The sad fact is that if only those affected by these ailments would take corrective actions so as to reverse their dilemma.
Simple steps such as taking a walk each night or not eating unhealthy food excessively can help conquer obesity with time. And in cases where simple steps aren’t enough, surgery remains a viable option. It would seem that if people struggling with obesity want to have the same advantages relating to sex, marriage and childbearing, obese individuals must perform deliberate efforts to reverse the problem. If they do so, the rewards will follow.